Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

The Installation Meeting

Every year, each Lodge holds an Installation, when a new Worshipful Master takes up his role and appoints his Officers for the year ahead. It is a big event in the Lodge's calendar, as it is an opportunity to give thanks to the outgoing Master for all his hard work, to give best wishes to his successor, and to pledge the support of the brethren to the new 'team'.As it is such an important event, a lot of preparation is put in by everyone, particularly the Worshipful Master, Secretary and Director of Ceremonies. However, as a newer mason you will also have an important part to play. You represent the future of the Lodge and, as the event is largely about looking forward, your presence will certainly add to the sense of occasion.

Before the evening, check the dress code with your Mentor, as Lodges sometimes have a different code for their Installation meeting. Also check the start time, as that is also sometimes changed.

On the evening itself, make sure you arrive in good time as Installation meetings often attract larger attendances and you do not want to find yourself caught up in a last minute rush to get ready. Take your seat in good time, remembering to check that it is not spoken for, as some may be reserved for use during different parts of the ceremony.

You will be asked to leave the Lodge Room at some point in the evening, as the Master Elect in presented whilst the Lodge is open in the Second Degree and is installed by a Board of Installed Masters after all Master Masons have been asked to withdraw in the Third Degree.

Attend the rehearsal if at all possible and talk with your Mentor to make sure you are aware of the correct modes of exit from and re-entry to the Lodge (signs, steps, positioning etc). Hopefully, you will not be alone when you leave and re-enter the lodge, but there is a possibility that your Mentor may not be able to come out with you on this particular occasion, as he may have a job to do in the Lodge.

When you do leave the Lodge Room, you should stay within close proximity, for you will be called back in and need to be ready when that happens. When you re-enter, you will be asked to pass round the Lodge and salute the Worshipful Master in the degree in which the Lodge is opened. This may sound somewhat daunting, but you will be well briefed by the Director of Ceremonies and it is unlikely you will be called upon to walk round on your own.

In some Lodges, the perambulations are accompanied by music and the singing of the Masonic Hymn, pdficon small 'Hail Masonry Divine'.

You will then witness the Installing Master presenting pdficon small the Warrant of the Lodge, the Book of Constitutions, the By-laws of the Lodge and possibly the By-laws of the Province, to his successor. The new Worshipful Master will then appoint and invest his officers.

When the officers have all been appointed and invested, there will be three Addresses given -

(Print-outs of the above Addresses should preferably be given to the Candidate immediately after the ceremony of Installation, rather than before it, in order to maximise its impact)

As an Installation Meeting is such a special occasion, it is more than likely there will be a distinguished visitor present. Be prepared to be introduced to him as he will no doubt wish to meet and talk with the newer members.

The Installation is an important event in the life of your Lodge,
play your part and most of all - enjoy yourself.

Published in Mentoring Aids
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

Beyond the 3rd Degree

Answering the Questions of Family and Friends

As the Candidate becomes accustomed to life as a Master Mason, he will naturally wish to talk about Freemasonry within the circles he keeps both at home and at work. Indeed, he will doubtless face many questions from both family and friends, curious to learn about his new found interest. As a relatively new mason he will likely be unsure as to what he may divulge to others about Freemasonry, perhaps taking his Obligations too literally.

It is important to discuss this particular issue with him, for if through lack of knowledge or confidence he responds to questions negatively with 'I can not tell you, it is a secret', he will of course be perpetuating the very myth we are trying so hard to dispel. It is only by pdficon small Talking About Freemasonry, that we are able to convince the uninformed and popular world of the benefits of our ancient Institution.

The Holy Royal Arch

Upon becoming a Master Mason, the Candidate may well be approached by friends who, with the best of intentions, may encourage him to join other Orders and there are many. All these Orders are no doubt enjoyable, they will increase his general Masonic knowledge and he may eventually join some of them. At this point however, you must issue a word of caution . Remind the Candidate that he must never involve himself in Freemasonry to an extent that compromises the interests of his family and business and that it is, therefore, unwise to become over involved too quickly. Encourage him to develop his knowledge of Freemasonry one step at a time and impress upon him that the next step in Pure Antient Masonry is the Holy Royal Arch .

It is very important to ensure that the Candidate becomes a Royal Arch Mason before considering membership of any other Order. You should therefore provide him with an explanation of the pdficon small relationship between the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch and encourage him to take that next step as soon as he feels ready to do so. Introduce him to an enthusiastic Royal Arch mason, of a similar age, if possible.

(If you, the Mentor, are not a Royal Arch Mason, you must enlist the assistance of a Companion of the Order to explain its relationship to the Craft)

 

Published in Mentoring Aids
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

After Raising

3tbThe 3rd Degree Tracing BoardYou should start by congratulating the Candidate on taking his next step in Freemasonry and handing to him a pdficon small personal letter from the Provincial Grand Master. Then embark upon a step by step explanation, and encourage the Candidate to question what is being said on each subject

  • Symbolic explanation of the Third Degree ceremony (pdficon small two alternatives).
  • pdficon small Applying the principles of Freemasonry to our everyday lives
  • Ensure the Candidate is proficient in the Third Degree signs and take the opportunity to remind him of those in the First and Second Degree. It is also a good time to remind him of the grip and words of each of the three Degrees.
  • Ensure that the candidate owns a ritual book of his own. Encourage him to read it in short passages over a period of time and to discuss with you the meaning of those passages and any abbreviations he is as yet unable to understand.
  • pdficon small Life as a Master Mason
  • pdficon small Lodge of Instruction
  • pdficon small Grand Lodge Certificate
  • pdficon small Visiting other Lodges
  • Encourage the Candidate to engage in social activities at every opportunity. These may vary considerably from relatively low key Lodge gatherings such as Treasure Hunts etc, through Ladies' Nights, to events such as 'Light Blues' Club or Dinner Dances organised at a Provincial level. Involvement of the family is important - remember, a mason with a supportive family tends to remain a mason .
  • pdficon small Conclusion - being a Mason in the world
Published in Mentoring Aids
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

After Passing

The 2nd Degree Tracing BoardThe 2nd Degree Tracing BoardStart by congratulating the Candidate on taking his second step in Freemasonry and pdficon small becoming a Fellow Craft. Embark upon an explanation of the Second Degree ceremony and endeavour to impart as much general Masonic knowledge as the Candidate is able to assimilate without overburdening him. As a conscientious Mentor, you will be very aware that it is essential to have at least one clear meeting between the stages of advancement if the Candidate is to progress satisfactorily, having regard to the sheer volume of information with which he is faced.

  • Symbolic explanation of the Ceremony of Passing (pdficon small two alternatives)
  • The Tracing Board in the Second Degree is quite a long piece of ritual, and it is therefore not always delivered when a Candidate is Passed. In some Lodges, it is explained on an evening when there is little other work and, as a result, may be witnessed by several Fellow Crafts for the first time. An optional pdficon small shorter explanation of the Tracing Board is attached.
  • Applying the principles of Freemasonry to our everyday lives. The pdficon small 2nddegree-wts of this Degree spell out the way in which we should live our lives, so provide a copy and discuss it with the Candidate.
  • In many Lodges, a Candidate does not have access to the printed ritual until he is presented with, or allowed to purchase, a ritual book following the completion of his Third Degree. Ensure he is provided with a copy of the ritual immediately following the ceremony of Passing, so that he may read it and raise any questions while the events are reasonably fresh in his mind.
  • Ensure the Candidate is proficient in the Second Degree signs and remind him of those in the First. Make him aware that he will be called upon to demonstrate both, when he leaves the Lodge after answering his questions and when he re-enters the Lodge before the ceremony of Raising.
  • The Candidate may not have been too aware of his surroundings during and immediately after the Ceremony of Initiation, but will certainly have taken note of many features in the Lodge Room by the time he becomes a Fellow Craft. It is a good time to talk about pdficon small the Symbolism which forms such an important part of our Freemasonry.
  • Arrange for the candidate to make an accompanied visit to a Lodge conducting an Initiation Ceremony as part of the learning process. pdficon small Visiting other Lodges
  •  width= Charity is at the very heart of Freemasonry. It is practiced through the work of the four National Masonic Charities, many Provincial Charities and individual Lodges across the length and breadth of England and Wales.
  • pdficon small The relationship between the United Grand Lodge of England and the Provinces, in terms of respective roles.
  • Explain the different pdficon small Masonic Clothing and Regalia
  • Provide the pdficon small Questions and Answers with which the Candidate must be conversant before he is Raised to the Third Degree and help him to learn them. The Mentor should discuss with the Candidate the meaning of the questions and answers rather than merely providing the missing words.
  • Discuss with the Worshipful Master the need for him to deliver a Royal Arch Chapter Address to the Candidate at the conclusion of the Ceremony of Raising. pdficon small Sample Royal Arch Chapter Address

Be especially vigilant after the Second Degree ceremony, as the Candidate may not have been quite the centre of attention he was on the evening of his Initiation when everyone wished to talk with him. It is important he does not feel any sense of anti-climax.

Published in Mentoring Aids
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

After Initiation

Arrange to meet with the Candidate as soon as possible after his Initiation ceremony. The meeting should be held in a quiet environment where you are both able to talk freely without embarrassment. The candidate's home, your home or the Masonic Hall are all suitable options and indeed the Masonic Hall has the added advantage of allowing you to point out many of the features you will be discussing.

It would be strange if the Candidate did not have many questions at your first meeting and it will therefore be necessary to display considerable patience and understanding, if you are to bring some structure to the meeting without appearing to disregard the Candidate's immediate thirst for knowledge.

You should start by congratulating the Candidate on taking his first step in Freemasonry and handing to him a pdficon small personal letter from the Provincial Grand Master.

Then embark upon a step by step explanation, encouraging the Candidate to question what is being said on each subject -

  • pdficon small Brief history of Freemasonry and of your own Lodge. If a history of your own Lodge has not been written, then steps should be taken by the Lodge to do so, for the benefit of future generations.
  • Organisation of the Lodge and duties of the pdficon small Lodge Officers
  • Provide contact details for the Officers of your Lodge and arrange to introduce each of them to the Candidate at the next Lodge meeting.
  • Discuss where the Officers are seated and provide a schematic pdficon small layout of the Lodge Room (another very common layout can be found on pages 25-26 of the Metropolitan Grand Lodge pdficon small Initiate's Guide).
  • Symbolic explanation of the Initiation ceremony (pdficon small two alternatives).
  • In many Lodges, a Candidate does not have access to the printed ritual until he is presented with, or allowed to purchase, a ritual book following the completion of his Third Degree. Ensure he is provided with a copy of the ritual immediately following the ceremony of Initiation, so that he may read it and raise any questions while the events are reasonably fresh in his mind.
  • Applying the principles of Freemasonry to our everyday lives. The Charge after Initiation spells out the way in which we should live our lives,  width= so provide a copy and discuss it with the Candidate.
  • pdficon small Why we use ritual rather than more modern day terminology to convey the aims and ideals of Freemasonry.
  • pdficon small Basic Masonic etiquette
  • pdficon small Festive Board
  • pdficon small Inviting Guests brings with it certain responsibilities
  • Arrange for the candidate to make an accompanied visit to a Lodge conducting an Initiation Ceremony as part of the learning process.  width= Visiting other Lodges
  • Provide the pdficon small Questions and Answers with which the Candidate must be conversant before he is Passed to the Second Degree and help him to learn them. The Mentor should discuss with the Candidate the meaning of the questions and answers rather than merely providing the missing words.
  • Ensure the Candidate is proficient in the First Degree signs, so that he (and you) will not be embarrassed when he leaves the Lodge after answering his questions and when he re-enters the Lodge before the ceremony of Passing.
  • Provide the words of any pdficon small Opening and Closing Hymns that are traditionally sung in your Lodge.

The Candidate will eventually need to be familiarised with other elements of the First Degree Ceremony, such as the First Degree Tracing Board. It is however, important not to overburden him at this early stage when he has so much to learn. An explanation of the First Degree Tracing Board is an excellent subject for an evening when the Lodge has no ceremony to perform and will be found interesting by all the newer members and even by those not so new! The explanation can be divided into constituent parts to involve many members of the Lodge in the work of the evening.

Published in Mentoring Aids
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

Evaluation and Review

One of the key roles of the Provincial Mentor is to monitor all mentoring activities within his Province. By receiving pdficon small Lodge Mentoring Report from individual Lodges, he will be able to compile an annual report for the Provincial Executive.

The format of this report will depend upon the amount of information requested by the Executive, but as a minimum it should include the following:

  • Number of Lodges actively employing Mentoring within the Province.
  • How many Lodge Mentoring Coordinators and Mentors there are within the Province.
  • Any training/workshop/road show activities within the last year.
  • Any feedback received on such activities.
  • Best practice identified.
  • Any notable successes to be celebrated.
  • Improvements identified for next year.

In addition to the above, the Provincial Mentor should consider providing data relating to how successful Lodges are in retaining their members - and by definition, also measuring the loss of members.

This can be done in two ways.

Membership Turnover; this is calculated by the following method:

Number of Leavers in Year * x 100 (to give %)
Total Lodge Membership **

* Resignations + exclusions + expulsions
** Membership at start of Masonic year + joining members + initiates

For example a lodge with 65 members and 3 leavers will have a loss ratio of 4.6%

It is accepted that this is the ultimate 'big picture' measure, as there will be many reasons for people leaving the Lodge. However, one may note the following points:

  • As the ultimate aim of mentoring is to help secure the future of masonry, what better way to see if it is working than this figure
  • If mentoring is working, it will contribute towards a more dynamic, vibrant lodge. If this is so, it may prevent other, longer serving members from leaving as the Lodge evening becomes more enjoyable. What may be termed 'knock-on effect'
  • This top line figure will give a good indication of which Lodges to look to for 'best practice' (what are they doing right?) and will also identify those needing further monitoring and possible support from Province
  • It will give a Provincial average with which to compare all Lodges within the Province
  • If all Provinces were to do this, it would not only give a national average, but also highlight regional variations

An example of how this report could be formatted at Provincial level can be seen in this ms excel Membership Turnover Report.

The resultant % allows objective comparison. There are two tabs on the spreadsheet. One is by numerical Lodge order; the second, and more interesting, has them sorted by leaver % order.

Being particularly interested in New Members, the Provincial Mentor would apply a similar calculation as follows:

Number of resignations with less than 5 years membership x 100
Number of brethren with less than 5 years membership

Hence a Lodge with 11 members of less than 5 years service that has seen 3 of them leave will have a loss ratio of: 27.2%.

Figures are easily presented in a spreadsheet format. Please note that the figure of 5 years is arbitrary and could be changed to 3/7/10, if so required.

It is recognised that these are only some of the mechanisms available and are not necessarily the only way to measure the health of a Lodge or a Province. They are, however, useful as a guide and to establish trends.

A further interesting use of such evaluation is to apply these calculations to particular groups, such as those members who have been through the Chair (Number of IPMs who have left over Number of IPMs). There is anecdotal evidence that the years immediately after a brother has been through the Chair may see him leaving Freemasonry, having achieved his initial goal and finding there is little challenge thereafter.

This of course raises the question 'When does Mentoring stop?' and, in truth, the answer is probably 'Never'. It is an area of future debate about how mentoring can support such issues, but calculations such as these will allow objective analysis of the situation within each Lodge.

Published in Library
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:26

Library

This area provides quick access to working materials referred to within the "3R Library". It will be expanded to include further contributions from individual Masonic 3R schemes so that these may be shared for the good of the whole Masonic community.

A suggested reading list has been provided for those looking to develop their own understanding of Freemasonry, including Lodge and Provincial Mentors.

This section also contains useful links to Masonic web sites and 3R-related media from around the web, including other Masonic jurisdictions.

Introduction to Masonic Mentoring 

Mentoring Skills 

Explanations of Masonic Symbolism 

Extracts of Ritual for the Mentee

Masonic Awareness

Practises, protocol and procedure 

Shared by Metropolitan, Provincial and District Grand Lodges

Mentoring Scheme Straw Men 

Published in Library